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coffeedragon
07-05-2009, 03:37 AM
We recently got into an indepth debate over the relative differences between the 3 'mental' stats.

Superficially it's pretty simple. Int = IQ; Wis = 'street smarts'; Cha = personality.
BUT when you start to delve a little deeper, it gets murky. Is will power an aspect of Wisdom, or rather an aspect of the strength of your personality, which would make it Cha?
i've kind of always thought of Int as 'mental Dex', Wis as 'mental Con' and cha as 'mental Str'.

I'd like peoples idea's on the finer points of difference between the 3 stats. :nerd:

Q-man
07-05-2009, 07:38 AM
I always defined Intelligence as your books smarts and capacity for learning and applying facts. Wisdom was your common sense and ability to mental toughness, meaning your willpower as well. Charisma was your ability to talk to other people which covers everything from your personality to your appearance.

These are pretty vague definitions though. With the change made in 4E that your Will Defense could come from either your Wisdom or your Charisma it eased that definition where you could say it was a combination of your mental toughness as well as your strength of personality. The stat still comes from one ability score, but phrasing it using both made it easier to define.

In previous editions your Will Save wasn't impacted by any stats (at least I don't remember any in there) so it was very difficult to explain exactly what it meant.

korhal23
07-05-2009, 11:14 AM
This (http://www.gamegrene.com/node/385) is a good article on the subject, at least of Int vs. Wis. I agree with Q-man though, 4E's definitions of the defenses definitely are an improvement.

Malruhn
07-05-2009, 12:04 PM
I will agree with Q-man with one caveat... CHR is more than just being able to talk to someone. It's the sheer presence of a person. I've known people that have walked past me that I just KNEW were important people. I've also known important people that walked past me that I just KNEW were there for reasons other than there importance...

The crappy description of CHR is why I came up with two additional stats for 2E - Bardic Voice (vocal quality and ability to mimic sounds), and Comeliness (pure physical beauty). I always looked at Hitler for a mold breaker - the boy was NOT attractive, but he had the ability to stir millions with his voice. I also have an old friend that is unfortunately uglier than sin - but worked as a phone-sex operator and made about $2500 per WEEK by talking guys into jerking a little faster. Good lord, but she has a beautiful voice.

And you would have never known her power by standing next to her.

CHR to me is pure leadership ability - the ability to get people to WANT to do what you want - whether you are in a leadership position or not. This ability is not hindered by not being able to see ther person - or hear the person.

But - that's the way _I_ see it.

Thelrain
07-05-2009, 12:37 PM
I never liked the term 'wisdom' for a stat. To me wisdom is defined by ones' actions based on common sense or other educated factors. This is hard to put into a stat. A newbie player playing a cleric with an 18 wisdom is going to make some ridiculous decisions of actions while a player of many years might know you just don't 'do' certain things, even when playing a fighter with a wisdom of 5.

Kudo's to the players who can actually play their characters this way.

I prefer to think of wisdom as mental strength ( even renaming it in my games such) and it baffled me why the sorcerer used Cha as it's main stat instead of wisdom in 3.x. It's your mental strength that lets you overcome temptations when you want to do something.. but you know you better not. And when you decide not to do those things, then you become wise.

korhal23
07-05-2009, 12:50 PM
I will agree with Q-man with one caveat... CHR is more than just being able to talk to someone. It's the sheer presence of a person. I've known people that have walked past me that I just KNEW were important people. I've also known important people that walked past me that I just KNEW were there for reasons other than there importance...

The crappy description of CHR is why I came up with two additional stats for 2E - Bardic Voice (vocal quality and ability to mimic sounds), and Comeliness (pure physical beauty). I always looked at Hitler for a mold breaker - the boy was NOT attractive, but he had the ability to stir millions with his voice. I also have an old friend that is unfortunately uglier than sin - but worked as a phone-sex operator and made about $2500 per WEEK by talking guys into jerking a little faster. Good lord, but she has a beautiful voice.

And you would have never known her power by standing next to her.

CHR to me is pure leadership ability - the ability to get people to WANT to do what you want - whether you are in a leadership position or not. This ability is not hindered by not being able to see ther person - or hear the person.

But - that's the way _I_ see it.

In Aces and Eights, which takes heavy influence from AD&D, there's the usual 6 stats, and then there's another one, Looks. LKS has a direct bearing on your CHA, but in some situations (such as seduction) LKS plays a much heavier roll that is typically the realm of a CHA check. I've never found the distinction important enough to make in D&D... everything else is so abstracted, so whether you're a beautiful person or an ugly person, or a person who is good at talking to others or not doesn't much matter... only the net effect is what counts. Plus, in any game with non-human races, you run into a dilemma... how do you measure Looks? Based off the human average I'd assume, but that does no good for anyone that doesn't play a human. And races that are lower on that scale, say, half orcs, or dwarves, wouldn't be awestruck by some eladrin's beauty, because it isn't their race, and it likely isn't what they're attracted to.

So all in all I think that most games do well to not bother including a Looks score, unless the whole world has only one race. It's just an unnecessary complication for most games.

Q-man
07-05-2009, 01:13 PM
The crappy description of CHR is why I came up with two additional stats for 2E - Bardic Voice (vocal quality and ability to mimic sounds), and Comeliness (pure physical beauty). I always looked at Hitler for a mold breaker - the boy was NOT attractive, but he had the ability to stir millions with his voice. I also have an old friend that is unfortunately uglier than sin - but worked as a phone-sex operator and made about $2500 per WEEK by talking guys into jerking a little faster. Good lord, but she has a beautiful voice.

We used to use Charisma and Comeliness for that type of breakdown of you social interactions. It worked for a while, but the DM had a hard time making use of that stat in game situations. We always ended up deferring to a normal charisma check, so it fell out of use.

In principle its a good idea. But in game situations (in my experience anyway) physical qualities were too hard to address correctly. Either you looked like crap and people walked away, or you didn't and they'd talk to you and it comes down to just what you called the Bardic Voice stat for any sort of checks. So essentially we just would end up back with a normal Charisma check. Could be we took too simplistic an approach to it, but we couldn't find any other way to handle it.

Thelrain
07-05-2009, 01:14 PM
Personally I really really liked the sub stats that were introduced in Player's Options: Skills and Powers for 2e. Each sub ability could be two over or under the base stat. For example a character might have for stats::

Strength 14
(Stamina 15)
(Muscle 13)
Dexterity 14
(Aim 14)
(Balance 14)
Constitution 15
(Health 13)
(Fitness 17)
Intelligence 10
(Reason 9)
(knowledge 11)
Wisdom 13
(Intuition 13)
(Willpower 13)
Charisma 10
(Leadership 9)
(Appearance 11)

This was a very elaborate but clear cut way to define and tweak your character a bit more. Although it did tend to entice min/maxing. But from a DM standpoint and rping a character it really flushed out characters a bit more.

RoryN
07-05-2009, 05:33 PM
Long ago, I read this example of intelligence/wisdom. It put things into perspective for me: (you "older" people will know who I'm talking about, some of the younger folk may need to do a google ;))

The Edith Bunker character wasn't very intelligent, but had a great deal of wisdom. On the opposite end, Richard Nixon was a very intelligent person, but didn't possess a lot of wisdom. Before reading this example, I always thought inteliigence and wisdom went kind of hand-in-hand...if you were intelligent, you also had wisdom. Not necessarily the case though.

As for charisma, I agree that it's just more than being able to talk to someone, or how good a person looks. Interaction with others is a part of it, but there are so many other aspects that go into whether or not a person is considered charismatic.

CEBedford
07-05-2009, 08:33 PM
An intelligent man will stand in the rain and tell you what causes it.

A wise man will tell you it's not a good idea to stand in the rain.

Grimwell
07-05-2009, 09:14 PM
I find it much easier not to think on the meaningful difference all that much. :D

Are my players creating fun and consistent characters?
If yes, ignore the numbers and enjoy the game.
If no, find out why and see what can be done - don't confuse the numbers as a solution or tool in the solution.

Mind you, I'm enough of a DM's geek to have my own personal definitions that help a lot with my NPC's but it's irrelevant to the play of the game for my players so long as their characters are consistent and fun is being had.

tesral
07-06-2009, 08:25 AM
We recently got into an indepth debate over the relative differences between the 3 'mental' stats.

Superficially it's pretty simple. Int = IQ; Wis = 'street smarts'; Cha = personality.
BUT when you start to delve a little deeper, it gets murky. Is will power an aspect of Wisdom, or rather an aspect of the strength of your personality, which would make it Cha?
i've kind of always thought of Int as 'mental Dex', Wis as 'mental Con' and cha as 'mental Str'.

I'd like peoples idea's on the finer points of difference between the 3 stats. :nerd:

I like that actually. It is a good way to put it.

Book smarts would be the ranks you have in the various skills. (One reason I don't like the Forry skills system) So book learning is the 5 ranks of Arcane Knowledge. My Int 16 is the dexterity I have to use those ranks.

Wisdom as mental Constitution is appropriate for the Will save. Like Fortitude you are resisting an effect.

Charisma, your mental strength would be applied to something you are trying to do, such as bluff or diplomacy. Just as Strength is used to force a door or turn over a rock, not wrestle a disease to the ground.

That works for me.

DMMike
07-06-2009, 12:17 PM
Maybe comparing the traits to characters would make them more usable:

Great charisma is held by a politician or entertainer.
Great wisdom lies in the words and deeds of monks or philosophers.
Great intelligence is used by the alchemist or engineer.

Q-man
07-06-2009, 01:47 PM
I don't know that a perfect definition is really all that necessary. to say that every aspect of your character can be summed up into 6 handy ability scores is a laughable concept. So long as you have a general idea what they mean you've got enough. Then go by what Grimwell said:


Are my players creating fun and consistent characters?
If yes, ignore the numbers and enjoy the game.
If no, find out why and see what can be done - don't confuse the numbers as a solution or tool in the solution.

The numbers don't define the characters, they should merely be similar to the character.

One of the issues I've got with Wisdom being common sense and Intelligence being book smarts is that Wisdom is required for Perception checks.

I'll use the example from the article (http://www.gamegrene.com/node/385) korhal23 linked to, the Rogue and the trap in the road. From the example the Rogue can think of ways to get around the trap, but not see the larger picture and why he may not want to remove it. Which is perfect, since most Rogue's don't care about the larger picture they just want to get past the current obstacle between them and piles of treasure.

However, all this fails if the Rogue has a low Perception skill and never even sees the trap. The low Wisdom would become a huge liability since the Rogue has to find the trap before he can employ one of the many ways to get past them.

Granted there are a lot of ways to boost the Perception skill without a huge Wisdom bonus, but thats not the point. Early in your career you need a decent wisdom in order to survive the first couple traps in order to get a lot of those bonuses.

With that in mind I tend to ignore a rigid definition of them and based on what the character should be able to do I choose the stats. Then regardless of the numbers I play the character with the correct intelligence and insight for who I want him to be.

Dytrrnikl
07-07-2009, 04:17 AM
Here's how my group has always defined the 3 mental stats:

Intelligence - one's capacity to learn and pick up new skills, the ease with which you are able to figure out difficult puzzles and such.

Wisdom - the ability to apply what you know in a meaningful fashion. Also it's a representation of your 'instincts' or intuition, your ability to read between the lines.

Charisma - this is one's force of personality and strength of character, personal magnetism. Looks don't play a part. There are some fairly attractive people out there that are just plain *******s and some pretty ugly people that have a personal confidence about them that make you do a double take, as well as everything in between for ugly, average loooking, and attractive people.

Duellist
07-07-2009, 03:25 PM
An intelligent man will stand in the rain and tell you what causes it.

A wise man will tell you it's not a good idea to stand in the rain.
Yeah, that is similar to how I explained it to my group; intelligence is knowing 100% why you shouldn't put a fork into a toaster but doing it anyway, wisdom is not being 100% sure what would happen but deciding not to do it just to be safe.

CEBedford
07-07-2009, 08:36 PM
Yeah, that is similar to how I explained it to my group; intelligence is knowing 100% why you shouldn't put a fork into a toaster but doing it anyway, wisdom is not being 100% sure what would happen but deciding not to do it just to be safe.

I kinda stole mine from Big Trouble In Little China although I think that bit was more of a brave vs. wise debate. It's been so long since I've seen it, I think I'll go dig out my dvd and watch it! :biggrin:

Valdar
07-07-2009, 09:24 PM
By the artwork, Comeliness is no longer a stat in 4e- everyone's pretty much attractive. Ugliness didn't make the cut for things you can have for your character (and with the lack of interest in female dwarves with beards, you can't really blame them).

I think you can't really do more than make a list of what stats affect what things, and make inferences from there- the lists seem almost contradictory:

INT: Learned arcane magic, Arcana, History, Religion, AC when you don't have heavy armor, Reflex defense.
WIS: Divine magic, Dungeoneering, Heal, Insight, Nature, Perception, Will defense.
CHA: Intuitive arcane magic, Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Streetwise, Will defense.

So, seeing patterns in your opponent's attacks (AC) is INT, but noticing things in general (Perception, Insight) is WIS. Learned skills are for the most part INT, but Heal, Dungeoneering and Nature are WIS.

Worst of all is that Religion is INT, which is a dump stat for most Divine characters. I'm not sure about the reasoning behind this- a Wizard's Religion skill will be the same as the Cleric's when the Wizard doesn't train it. Once I crack open the houserule can o' worms, this will be first on the list.